PAMPA – Joan Gray-Soria, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service family and community health agent in Gray County, has been awarded the Superior Service Award for a county agent by the agency.
The annual Superior Service awards, presented Jan. 9 in Bryan, recognize AgriLife Extension personnel who provide outstanding performance in education or other outstanding service to the organization and Texans.
Nominators recognized Gray-Soria for exemplifying superior service through her involvement with AgriLife Extension educational programs including the Food Safety, Youth and Health Wellness, and Fragile: Handle With Care Youth Alcohol Program, as well as the countless hours she has spent mentoring new agents.
Food Protection Management certification courses taught by Gray-Soria were offered 38 times from 2013-2017 to food service managers in Gray County and surrounding areas, said Dr. Angela Burkham, AgriLife Extension state program leader family and community health, Amarillo.
Gray-Soria also taught an annual class for various restaurants in Pampa, and assisted neighboring counties with the accredited food-handlers course on an annual basis.
“In addition to her unwavering support with food safety, Gray-Soria has partnered with the Gray County Family and Consumer Sciences/Better Living for Texans Program Area Committee and Pampa Junior High School coaches to implement the Winning With Nutrition program,” Burkham said. “She has since started offering the program to the girls coach in Lefors for both junior high and high school.”
This program addresses the need for nutrition education for athletes by emphasizing healthy ways to increase and maintain optimal athletic performance and endurance.
“While each of her efforts have not gone unnoticed, Gray-Soria’s most significant contribution to the agency has been her willingness to serve as a mentor to new agents,” said Brandon Dukes, AgriLife Extension district administrator in Amarillo.
Serving as an informal mentor to every new family and community health agent in District 1, Gray-Soria effectively trains new agents on how to be successful within AgriLife Extension, Dukes said.
Gray-Soria joined AgriLife Extension in 1990 and served in Wheeler County until 1998 before accepting her current position in Gray County.
She has earned certification as a Child Passenger Safety Technician, Food Protection Management Instructor, secondary reading teacher and vocational home economics teacher. She is also a member of both the state and national Association of Extension 4-H Agents and state and national Extension Association of Family and Consumer Sciences.
A native of Channing, Gray-Soria earned her bachelor’s degree in family and consumer sciences/human sciences from Texas Tech University and her master’s degree in education from West Texas A&M University.
She is a past recipient of the Amarillo Women’s Network Lifetime and Career Achievement Awards, the Distinguished Achievement Award from both the Texas and National Associations of Extension 4-H Agents, and the Texas Extension Specialists Association FCS agent award.